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prevention International magazine for oral health No. 1, 2018

special: dental hygiene in UK | Clare Ison months later. They need to know how to practise good oral hygiene at home, what the risk factors for certain oral diseases are, and indeed, what even causes them. We go right back to basics, what toothbrush and toothpaste they use. It’s not judgemental, however; this is aimed at providing them with a solid base of knowledge upon which they can build. We’re all about prevention. To be honest, why would one keep treating a patient who has dental disease with- out informing him or her about what exactly was causing that disease? If he or she has tooth decay, for example, one can treat it by providing fillings, but one also needs to explain what exactly is causing the decay so that the patient can be aware of it and prevent it. What type of patients do you have at your practice? We welcome all ages and all patients, but we do like to focus on children, as we can get them started at an early age with a good education on oral health. At the end of the day, they’re most likely to be shown how to clean their teeth by their parents, and if there’s something wrong with how they’ve been taught, we need to break the cycle and improve the oral health of not just the children but also hopefully the whole family. How can you motivate patients to adopt good oral hygiene practices? We sometimes like to focus on the risk factors and the issues that can potentially arise, such as tooth and bone loss. However, it’s most important to show patients support and guidance and provide them with a good oral health education. If these are all right, the patients will usually listen. Though this is sometimes a step-by-step process for certain patients and can require multiple sessions, it is ultimately worthwhile. How many patients practise or understand the ben- efits of something like interdental cleaning? Well, interdental cleaning is something that a lot of patients don’t know about, because they often think that a toothbrush cleans all of the tooth surfaces, and so it’s quite difficult to implement in a daily oral routine. However, if one demonstrates it to them not just on a model but in their own mouths as well, one will often be able to physically show them the removed plaque on the interdental brush, the evidence of what is in the inter- dental space, and this can motivate them to adopt it in their day-to-day routine. What is the current situation regarding oral health- care in the UK? Overall, I would say it is quite good, yet there are still some areas that can be addressed. Interdental cleaning, as I mentioned, is not really something that is that popular in the UK yet, and there’re also a lot of patients who think that brushing their teeth only once a day, and not twice, is acceptable. Though they might be hesitant at first, once we’re able to educate patients and show them how re- moving plaque twice a day can improve their oral health dramatically, we can really get them to change their oral hygiene habits for the better. Thank you very much for the interview. prevention 1 2018 49

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